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Old 12-17-2007, 12:56 PM   #1
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Fondue, Electric Vs Gel Burner

I'm throwing a fondue party, first time ever using a fondue...I'm doing chicken, and beef, and veggies....I am going to buy two fondue's, if money were no object which should I buy, the electric or the gel burner ones?

I'd like to know the pro's and con's of each...how slow is the gel burner fondue in actually cooking the meat? Also, how fast does it lose temperature with the gel burner? Does the electric fondue cook faster, or at the same rate? How long can I expect a skewer of beef to cook to medium? Is there anything I should know before buying the fondue, best type of pot, brands to stay away from, etc.

Any advice, input, is greatly appreciated here....

Mac

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Old 12-17-2007, 01:26 PM   #2
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since it sounds very much like you`re making shabu shabu (a type of Sukiyaki), I`de say use an Electric heater, you can maintain an even temp, there`s no mess or consumables and it costs less in the long run.

as for cooking time as long as your stock is up to boiling temp it takes only Seconds to cook (if your meat is cut correctly).
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:32 PM   #3
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How Long?

Thanks, your input is much appreciated

Any idea how long it takes to bring the broth to a boiling temperature using the electric fondue?? I don't know what the temperature control on the fondue itself means, it starts at 1 and goes to 5, I'm assuming 1 is low and 5 is high, but what does that translate to in terms of heat degrees??

Mac
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:42 PM   #4
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You would heat the broth on the stove and pour it into the fondue pot already hot.
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:49 PM   #5
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Yikes

Not sure I like that idea, sounds like way too much work, I didn't realize I'd have to prep stuff for a fondue, the whole reason why i chose to do a fondue party as to a dinner party was so I wouldn't have much prep to do.....I thought it was just a simple matter of filling the fondue pots with broth, having the meat an dveggies precut, lighting the burner or plugging the units in and turning them on, and way to go.....someone sent me an email saying I'd need to par-cook things beforehand, and now I hear I have to preheat the broth, yikes, this sounds like too much prep.....thinking maybe I should reconsider this idea....

Thanks for your input

Mac
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:15 PM   #6
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If you think heating up some broth in a pot is to much prep, perhaps you should go another way.

I don't know how long it would take to bring room temperature or fridge temperature broth to boiling in the pot. I guess eventually it would get there. Preheating it just makes it much faster.
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:41 PM   #7
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Prep

As per my previous post....
Heating up broth on the stove is not too much prep, but combine that with having to par-cook food beforehand, etc and it becomes no different than cooking an entire meal from scratch, and defeats the purpose of why Ii had planned to do a fondue to begin with....

I'm getting a lot of conflicting information from different people, some people are saying, "Why would you par-cook food before a fondue, never had to do that before", others have said, "You have to par-cook food before a fondue otherwsie it will never cook", you said, "heat up the broth on the stove beforehand", someone else emailed me and said, "The purpose of a fondue is so you don't have to cook, everyone cooks their own, you don't need to preheat anything, the fondue will do it all.."

What am I to believe?

I think my best bet is to find an experienced and reliable source of information before making any decisions.....

Mac
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Old 12-17-2007, 03:11 PM   #8
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As I said in an earlier post, preheating the broth on the stove will speed things up considerably. I didn't say it could not be done in the pot. It will just take longer. What do the instructions for the fondue pot say? Instructions usually come with a recipe or two. Follow those.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:25 PM   #9
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It depends on what you are serving. Some things need to be parboiled, (some veggies for example) others don't need to be (meat). In fact it's dangerous from a food safety standpoint to parcook meat. A shrimp will take but a minute or so to cook in boiling broth whereas a potato would take a lot longer.

Bringing the broth to a boil on the stove is hardly much effort, really.

The point of fondue is not to rid yourself of work, it's the unique and communal quality of a fondue pot.

You could just make cheese fondue, whioch requires a small modicum of up from prep of the cheese, but then is basically autopilot afterwards.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:51 PM   #10
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I have an electric fondue pot and I love it. It doesn't take long at all to get oil or broth hot, and it maintains the heat. The best part is you don't have to preheat the broth, just put it in and plug it in. I have this one and love it (although I got it on sale at Target for half that price).
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:28 AM   #11
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The sort of fondue you are talking about doing is a bourguignonne fondue (Fondue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) and you should use hot oil which you bring to heat on the stove and then place on your fondue heater. The pan for a bourguignonne is a metal saucepan so it should be able to be heated directly on the stove top.

There is a lot of preparation in a bourguignonne fondue by the time you have prepped your meat/seafood, parcooked the veges (that need it, eg potato but not eg broccoli or snow peas) and trimmed the ones you don't, made your sauces and other accompaniments, as well as the salads or rices etc. Sure you can just slop it all down but not really good when entertaining.

Bourguignonne fondues are the only type of fondue I do and I have been doing them about once a year on average for about twenty years. (Too many "do's" in there!!) I only have the gel burner and have never tried an electric. For two people, I find that we almost finish one canister of gel. For about four people, get through one and a half-ish. I always give two or three forks per person as well as standard cutlery. Don't eat from the dipping fork (apart from the double-dip bit, it will burn your mouth in a bourguignonne fondue).

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I usually have a bowl of tempura batter by the side of the fondue for lovely crisp tempura-d seafood and veges. If you use oil, make sure you have removed the water from any meat/veges as it will spit.

With the gel burner, once you have the hot oil over the flame, you want to keep the oil hot enough to ensure the food cooks, also allowing for the addition of cold ingredients which will lower the heat, but not so hot that the oil is active. My gel burner usually operates on quarter open at first and then up to half open. If it gets too cool, then back on the stove for a quick reheat. Very rarely do I have to do that and before it gets to that stage, I will have the gel fully open, but again doesn't happen often as i usually monitor throughout the meal.

If all this seems a bit labour intensive for your evening (and it might be better to just do it for a couple the first time) how about a Chinese Steamboat? (Kylie Kwong: Steamboat)
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:44 AM   #12
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I own a Hershey's Kisses dessrt fondue. It's chocolate brown and in the shape of a giant Hershey's Kiss, and it uses candle heat to work. Never used it yet though.
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilby View Post
The sort of fondue you are talking about doing is a bourguignonne fondue (Fondue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) and you should use hot oil which you bring to heat on the stove and then place on your fondue heater.

You can definitely use broth and not oil -- like asian hot pot cooking.
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:54 PM   #14
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What you are talking about is not a fondue it is a Shabu shabu, Japanese dish, vegetable and meat and sea food cooked on the table in a broth
Go here to see the recipe

Momotaro Foods - Shabu shabu (one pot meal with dashi sauce)

It is two sort of fondues:

Cheese fondue

GourmetSleuth - Fondue

and fondue Bourguignonne
French Food and Cook : Fondue Bourguignonne

All of these need preparation !
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:53 AM   #15
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As others have said, unless you're making dessert fondue, you're going to want to get the liquid started on the stove and then transfer it to the fondue pot.

As to electric vs. gel--no contest, it's electric all the way. The gel burners won't maintain consistent heat and tend to get overly hot (when the flames aren't going out--and since the flame is almost invisible, you usually don't notice it until your liquid gets cold)
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